Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Lecture 3: Theory and Criminal Justice Research...

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Lecture 3: Theory and Criminal Justice Research Gia Barboza JLS 281 Spring, 2008
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How do we come to know what we think we know? Epistemology: The study of what we think we know and how we come to know it . It’s study implies finding truth is tricky business. Neither do the ignorant love wisdom or desire to become wise; for this is the grievous thing about ignorance, that those who are neither good nor beautiful nor sensible think they are good enough, and do not desire that which they do not think they are lacking. Plato, Symposium 203E-204A
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Methods of “Knowing” 1. Authority . We listen to the experts, family, friends, Internet, media, etc. . But how do they know? Problems: people may not be true experts, authorities often disagree, etc. This is knowledge based on FAITH 2. Tradition . That’s the way it’s always worked/been, so it must be true. Authority of the past. May be prejudiced or simply reiterated falsehoods
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Methods of “Knowing” 3. Conventional Wisdom (media) . “All I know is what I read in the papers” Will Rogers. – and what other people are saying. The media is not an unbiased presenter of info. It primarily entertains, focuses on negative, scandal, etc. Half truths. 4. Common Sense/Logic – it seems plausible or just makes sense. Crude logic But common sense can often be wrong. Gambler’s fallacy
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Base Rate Fallacy: Breast Cancer Suppose you are a physician who has just examined a woman for breast cancer. The woman has a lump on her breast, but based on many years of experience, you estimate that the probability she has cancer is .01. Just to be safe, you order a mammogram. The mammogram correctly classifies roughly 80% of malignant tumors. The tests are positive 10% of the time when the woman does not have cancer. The test result comes back, and much to your surprise, the tumor is classified as malignant. Given your prior view that the chances of malignancy were only .01, and given the reliability of the test, what would you say the overall chances of malignancy are now?
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Base Rate Fallacy: Liability? A cab was involved in a hit and run at night. Two cab companies, green and blue, are in the city. You are told: 85% of cabs are green and 15% are blue A witness identifies the cab as blue The witness was tested under similar conditions as the night of the accident and was found to identify the cab color correctly 80% of the time (for both green and blue cabs). What is the probability that the cab in the accident was blue? More likely to be blue or green?
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Methods of “Knowing” 5. Formal Logic . Knowledge from rational argument. But while adhering to logical rules is desirable, Logic only proceeds from uncertain assumptions. There is no single affirmative answer to most logical
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This note was uploaded on 04/12/2008 for the course JLS 280 taught by Professor Barboza during the Spring '08 term at American.

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Lecture 3 - Lecture 3: Theory and Criminal Justice Research...

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